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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Golden opportunity for Delhi slum kids
Razia, one of the three children going to MIT
Razia's talents have helped her turn dreams into reality

Three children from the slums of the Indian capital Delhi have been chosen to attend a workshop at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


I am going to share my ideas with other boys and girls and also enhance my computer skills

Shanti
Slum child

This is the first time slum children from India have been selected for such an international workshop, which will focus on computer skills.

The economic condition of families in Indian slums makes it almost impossible for many children to go to school, let alone college.

But the three young people are soon to set off to the United States on the opportunity of a lifetime.

Organised by a leading global computer firm, the main objective of the workshop is to improve fluency in technology, build leadership and communication skills and share ideas with other participants.

Fortunate ones

Teenager Shanti lives with her four sisters and parents in a dingy room in one of the biggest slums in Govindpuri in Delhi.

Shanti with her grandmother and sister
Slums in Delhi house more than 150,000 people

Her father barely manages to make both ends meet and she is just another child loitering around the narrow lanes of the slums.

But her love of studying has enabled her to fulfil a distant dream - a dream of going to the United States, now just 10 days away.

She told the BBC her family had migrated from eastern India and had been living in these slums for many years.

"I am going to share my ideas with other boys and girls and also enhance my computer skills," she says, adding with excitement that it will also be her first trip on an aeroplane.

Shanti studies in the eighth standard in a school run by "Kath", a leading non-governmental organisation in India.

She said she wants to take up music as a career.

Sitting by her side in the house, her grandmother says Shanti will be the first in many generations of the family ever to go abroad.

Opportunites

Deepa Mahajan - a member of Katha - said this workshop is going to give the slum children opportunities they could never have dreamt about.

She said the children selected are also members of a computer clubhouse started by a leading computer firm.


I am going to take gifts for other boys and girls in the workshop

Pradip
Another teenage student, Razia, who also lives in these slums housing more than 150,000 people, is the second of seven sisters and two brothers.

Huddled with her sisters and brothers in one of the two rooms in the house, she is worried about the clothes she will take along to the US.

"Maybe, I am going to wear Indian outfits," she says.

Razia, who has heard a great deal about America, never expected to visit the country herself.

Her mother says she along with her husband will try their best to help Razia to get a good job after her studies.

Razia's father barely earns $60 a month for the entire family with his job re-cycling domestic waste.

Pradip, who is to leave school in another year, says he is going to exchange ideas about computer designing with other boys and girls in the workshop.

"I am going to take gifts for other boys and girls in the workshop," he said.

See also:

06 May 02 | South Asia
08 May 02 | South Asia
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